“Injera, zighini, bozena, gored-gored... can we get all this in Melbourne?“ “If you know where to look.” With that said though, The Abyssinian is something of a poorly kept secret in Melbourne, being the most popular place for Ethiopian food and all. This small, dark restaurant is painted a violent shade of sunset orange, the walls festooned with traditional African handicrafts and knick-knacks. It may seem quiet if you’re here for an early meal, but don’t be fooled – most of the tables are booked out every single night, and the atmosphere becomes lively before long.
Most people are pretty surprised when I tell them that working in a hospital is a complete junk-food fest. But when your workplace has a couple of thousand people, coming across cake on daily basis isn’t so far-fetched. And of course, there are all the lovely patients who thank us by fattening us up. Still, all the junk food I eat is more or less balanced out by the days where I don’t get anything to eat until 3pm, and the fact that I walk about 8km every day just in the normal course of my work. That does however mean that deciding on a place for dinner becomes rather difficult. Depending on the day, I could either feel entirely justified for having a burger, or like I deserve nothing but salad. After spending an entire day oscillating between the gory burgers at Dude Food Man, and a place called Veggie Villa, I eventually settled for the sort-of-medium of Mr Ed.
Thank goodness Google Maps brought back the tram stop information in its mobile app. For a while there it felt like I was living in the dark ages, as I had to either work out how to get to point B before leaving point A, or try and wrangle with the so-called mobile version of Journey Planner. If it weren’t for the tram information on Google Maps, I would’ve never made this last-minute decision of a trip to Flemington Kebab House. There were no surprises at Flemington Kebab House; it’s the same sort of functional, fluorescent-lit space you see at any kebab house worth its salt, delicious smoky aromas swirling in the warm air, and a constant thoroughfare of take-away customers. The wait for food was longer than I would’ve expected, but I was just glad to be out of the cold.
Laksa King or Chef Lagenda? The opinions on which restaurant does the best Malaysian hawker food is as divided as the opinion on where you can get the best pho in Melbourne. We personally loved Laksa King when we first tried it, but we thought that it’d only be fair to give its next-door rival a go as well. Unlike the canteen-styled Laksa King next door, the decor inside Chef Lagenda is a lot more subdued, with exposed brick and dark wood lining the walls. The only thing that seemed out of place were the chairs – as opposed to ones that matched the table, the patrons were either perched on colourful plastic stools, or heavy stainless-steel chairs. Luckily we got the latter. Hooray back support!
‘Rub my tummy! It’ll bring you good laksa!’ chortled Chris as we walked out of Laksa King. And what could possibly bring CBD-dwellers like us out to Flemington on a cold Friday morning? The promise of fantastic laksa by my good Malaysian friends, Jan and Nick. And whilst I judge most Malaysian restaurants by their Fried Kway Teow, I simply couldn’t go past a dish that was ‘almost the same as it was back home’.